E200 CGI BlueEfficiency SE Estate
new Mercedes-Benz E-Class
range covers most popular areas of
the executive car market: saloons,
estates, coupes and cabriolets.
Not only that, it offers a classy badge
with affordable running costs...
ALL NEW E-CLASS MODELS, except the Sport and AMG version, are labelled 'BlueEfficiency',
Merc's answer to the pioneering and award-winning BMW EfficientDynamics
programme of no compromises in performance, more power but with better fuel
economy and lower CO2 emissions. The latter two, of course, mean lower road
tax, less fuel costs and reduced BIK company car tax.
E-Class Estate prices start from £30,160 and rise to £50,755 but the specialist
high-performance AMG version will cost £74,400. Trim and equipment levels for
the mainstream models are SE, Avantgarde and Sport. Engine options are many
but the main-sellers are new generation CGI direct injection, high-pressure,
turbocharged petrol or CDI common-rail, high-pressure, turbocharged diesel.
As with all new mainstream engines, they offer more power and torque from generally
a lower cubic capacity with better MPG and CO2 figures.
For example, I have just spent a busy week with the 'starter' model in the executive
E-Class Estate range the E200 CGI BlueEfficiency SE, priced at £30,160
on-the-road. My test model had the very popular extra-cost 5-speed automatic
tiptronic transmission option which adds £1,490.
When compared to its BMW and Audi 'premium' competitor models in this sector,
the E-Class Estate, and like its Saloon partner, is more comfortable and, generally
speaking, more refined although perhaps less appealing to younger drivers. They,
traditionally, are attracted to the 'dash' offered by the BMW before moving
to the less 'brash' Audi and then, as the years go by, trading up to a classy
Merc E-Class is the car we used to see our local Bank Managers or Doctors driving;
a car of substance for a person of stature and standing in the community. Today
it will be the model from an attractive fleet deal for business executives,
especially diesel versions. The well-off retail customers will most likely go
for petrol-engined models because they drive less miles. They also have more
relaxation time for extended holidays, active recreational pursuits and, of
course, the E-Class Estate is likely to be the most popular car in the golf
club car park.
Top speed is 140mph
and the acceleration from
zero to 62mph is an
astonishing given the
engine and vehicle size
Now with all this engine downsizing you might think the E200 CGI is a 2.0-litre
petrol unit. Wrong. It is actually 1.8-litres (1,796cc) and No, it isn't too
small, weak or feeble for this big 4,895mm-long estate that weighs over 1.7-tonnes.
Because this 181bhp engine is such a good example of how modern technology has
made it possible to use lower capacity engines with more power but with less
running costs without compromises in performance.
The top speed is 140mph in manual transmission form (138mph with the auto) and
the acceleration from zero to 62mph is an astonishing given the engine
and vehicle size 8.8 seconds. Fuel economy is officially 35.8mpg (35.4mpg
on my test) with CO2 emissions of 183g/km. So the VED road tax in the first
year is £300 and then £200 for the second year onwards. Benefit in Kind company
car tax is 25%.
As good as this petrol engine is, the E220 CDI 2.0-litre, 168bhp turbodiesel
E-Class Estate models will return close to 50mpg with just £125 in road tax
and BIK tax is 22%. So for me, whether you are a company car driver or retail
buyer, the diesel version is the best buy and costs £30,645 in the same SE specification
in manual form or an extra £1,490 for the auto option. The performance figure
match the E200 CGI petrol unit almost exactly and the diesel engine version
only costs £485 more which the lesser road tax and better fuel economy will
soon pay for plus the diesel version has a better residual value projection.
For the record, the competitor new BMW 5-Series Touring 520d SE costs £30,380,
has 181bhp, returns 54.3mpg and the CO2 figure of 137g/km means VED is just
£110 a year and BIK company car tax is only 19%. The older, Audi A6 Avant 2.0
TDIe with similar SE specification costs £29,250, has 134bhp, returns 53.3mpg
and its CO2 emissions of 139g/km mean VED is £110 and BIK tax is also 19%.
of its competitor models the E-Class is the roomiest by far for passengers front
and rear, and to match that its load space the area that really matters
for customers choosing an estate is the largest in this executive class.
Space under the load cover is 695 litres but this increases to a whopping 1,950
litres with the rear seats folded just a pity the seat backs do not fold
completely flat to maximise the load bed length.
As for specification,
the SE level, even though
it is the least expensive,
is not in the slightest
what you could call basic
it even includes
remarkable as the Mercedes E200 CGI petrol engine is responsive to drive,
smooth, plenty of power and torque unless petrol is the fuel of choice,
in the long term it is diesel engines that are most popular and cost effective.
Coupled with the auto gearbox, the 1.8-litre CGI unit was a pleasure to drive
but it is more expensive to run.
In all other respects, either with petrol or diesel engines, the E-Class is
the best executive estate on the market in terms of space, comfort, refinement
and image. The ride is effortless and offers reasonably precise control even
on twisty roads. The self levelling rear air suspension does cause some 'float'
and performs better when the car is loaded.
As for specification, the SE level, even though it is the least expensive, is
not in the slightest what you could call basic it even includes an electrically-operated
tailgate. So the SE specification includes 16-inch alloy wheels, roof rails,
'active' pedestrian-safe bonnet, adaptive anti-lock braking, Pre-Safe anticipatory
safety system, electronic stability programme, an annoying foot-operated parking
brake, automatic climate control, Bluetooth, a logical and easy to use central
controller dial to operate the sound system, on-board computer, electrically-operated
windows and door mirrors, electrically-operated driver's seat and heated front
seats, artificial leather upholstery, multi-function controls on the steering
wheel, a full set of airbags and other safety functions including Neck-Pro front
head restraints, front and rear parking aids and the must-have bonnet-mounted
Reasons to buy are numerous and include: the largest premium executive estate
car for both passenger space front and rear and cargo space, classy, comfortable
and refined, lots of safety features as standard, high specification even for
the least expensive SE version and the impressive 1.8-litre petrol engine.
only decision to make when buying an executive premium brand estate, after deciding
the Mercedes-Benz E-Class is the best in most ways, is whether it should be
the very impressive smaller capacity direct injection, turbocharged petrol engine
or the 2.0-litre CDI turbodiesel unit for just £485 more and which saves lots
in running and tax costs. The diesel unit gets my vote but only just.
I'd be happy with either. David Miles
Mercedes-Benz E200 CGI BlueEfficiency SE Estate | £30,160
Maximum speed: 138mph | 0-62mph: 8.8 seconds | Overall test MPG: 35.4mpg
Power: 181bhp | Torque: 199lb ft | CO2 183g/km